“Today’s planners are attempting to solve problems not by eliminating previous zoning mistakes, but by creating even more complicated and restrictive land-use regulations.”
(Dr. Michael Sanera, John Locke Foundation; www.johnlocke.org; City and County Issue Guide 2011, p. 28).
The quote above by Dr. Sanera, JLF director of research and government studies, reminds me of a comment by the late President Ronald Reagan paraphrased: “Government is not the solution to problems, government is the problem.”
In a Wilmington StarNews report by Kevin Maurer, we learn of another problem created by the misguided meddling of government planners and their political supporters. Last year the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners passed a zoning amendment requiring special-use permits for industrial companies proposing to operate in this county. Some pro-business people consider the regulation a “red flag” for industries that consider moving here. In addition, something more insidious may be going on with this new rule. (link)
Jason Thompson, the sole dissenter on the Board, thinks that this is a concealed effort to “undo Titan America’s plans to build” a cement plant near Castle Hayne, N. C. It’s quite clear to many of us that, at least, this throws a bone to rabid radicals determined to continue harassing Carolinas Cement and stalling its plans—hoping it will give up and go away.
Most of the county commissioners voted to throw their political weight around. Mr. Maurer writes that the “idea is to allow the county—and the public…more control.” However, more government control results in negative consequences. The industries targeted will see this for what it is: another hurdle to their plans that will allow anti-industry activists more fora for their attacks. We’ve repeatedly witnessed this tactic by the Stop Titan Network over the past several years.
Dr. Sanera writes that “the zoning process is in reality a highly politicized process where those with power in the community often gain advantages at the expense of those who lack it.”
He thinks that land-use regulations “give too much discretion to planning staff, planning boards, and elected bodies.” This power, he writes, “provides opportunities for graft, corruption, and favoritism.” Sanera lists some “principles” necessary to reform harmful zoning regulations.
Of course, the problem remains: we have too many self-serving, unprincipled government officials raising red flags to expect regulatory reform.
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